Michael Dugher MP

Working hard for Barnsley East

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Britain’s next generation of Billy Elliots is at risk

As reported by theMirror, Independentand specialist trade magazine The Stage, new figures show there has been a sharp fall in the number of children taking part in extra-curricular cultural activities like art, dance, music, and drama in the five years since David Cameron came to power.

Analysis has found that young children between five and ten years old are increasingly missing out after years of deep cuts to the Arts Council and local authorities who have helped fund such activities in the past.

Participation in dance activities has fallen from 45.1 per cent in 2009/2010 to 27.4 per cent in 2014/15. Music activities have fallen from 55.4 per cent to 36.6 per cent over the same period, while drama has gone from 49.1 per cent in 2009/2010 to 32.3 per cent. Arts and crafts are down from 81.6 per cent to 76.6 per cent.

Commenting Michael said:

“We are not nurturing talent across the country and the next generation of Billy Elliots is at risk.

“The Government’s approach to the arts and culture is completely counterproductive.  Not only do they enrich our society and create great opportunities for people, they also make a massive contribution to our economy,

“Overall, the arts and culture sector more than pays its way, with the Treasury getting five pounds back for every pound of public funding going to the Arts Council’s national portfolio organisations.

“Ministers should be ashamed that on their watch, fewer and fewer young children are able to take part in key cultural activities.  Rather than planning yet further massive cuts, the Government should be working to open up culture and the arts to everyone, particularly young children.”

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